Billy Graham released a statement yesterday supporting the North Carolina gay marriage amendment. The measure would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and the vote is on Tuesday. Measures like this one have passed in every state that has put them on the ballot, but polls are showing that this vote could be a close call. In the statement, Graham says,
Watching the moral decline of our country causes me great concern. I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected… At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage… The Bible is clear—God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment on Tuesday, May 8. God bless you as you vote.
The Billy Graham Association plans to run this statement in a full page ad in 14 newspapers across the state over the weekend. William Martin, who penned the authorized biography of Rev. Graham, says that he cannot recall another effort like the one the ministry plans in support of the measure to be voted on this Tuesday. Martin notes how unusual it is for Rev. Graham to weigh-in so directly on such a contentious political issue. He writes:
I am somewhat surprised that he would take that strong a stand. In the past, I have heard him say with respect to homosexuality, there are greater sins. Franklin has been more outspoken about it, but it sounds as if this is Mr. Graham expressing his own will.
Rev. Graham is not a polarizing figure. He is well-respected and loved by people of all political persuasions. Weighing-in on a contentious public debate like this one probably won’t gain him any friends, but it may lose him some. This could be a costly stand for him to take, but I am thankful that he did.